From frozen ice caps to sweltering deserts, from the deepest oceans to far into the sky and everywhere in between – animals have amazing ways of moving around, eating, reproducing, fighting and protecting themselves
Each animal’s body is adapted to its own unique way of life.Animals develop features that help them survive and thrive in their ecological niche or habitat; adaptations can be anatomical, behavioural or physiological.
Anatomical adaptations are physical features such as an animals shape. Fish have fins to help them swim and gills that let them breathe underwater. Without those two special traits, they would have a very hard time surviving in their watery environment. Behavioural adaptations can be inherited or learnt. When threatened, a porcupine extends its quills, making it very hard for a fox to eat them. Physiological adaptations include the ability to make venom; but also more general functions such as temperature regulation.
Ecosystem roles are about the part an animal or plant plays in sustaining or maintaining the habitat around them. Bees, for example, pollinate flowers, without which those plants would not produce fruits or seeds. Other species, such as dung beetles, play a vital role in keeping grasslands clear of animal waste and recycling valuable resources
Animal welfare refers to the state of the animal; the treatment that an animal receives It denotes the desire to prevent unnecessary animal suffering, it is a belief that each individual animal has an intrinsic .value, and should be respected and protected. Protecting an animal’s welfare means providing for its physical and mental needs.
Good animal welfare requires disease prevention and veterinary treatment, appropriate shelter, management, nutrition, humane handling and humane slaughter. is covered by other terms such as animal care, animal husbandry, and humane treatment.
Ensuring animal welfare is a human responsibility that includes consideration for all aspects of animal well-being, including proper housing, management, nutrition, disease prevention and treatment, responsible care, humane handling, and, when necessary, humane euthanasia.
Animal rights are the claim to humane treatment, the right not to be exploited for human purposes. Every creature with a will to live has a right to live free from pain, suffering and exploitation. ‘Animal rights’ is not just a philosophy—it is a social movement that challenges society’s traditional view that all nonhuman animals exist solely for human use.http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/animalrights.htm
Role of NGOs and organizations
Animal welfare agencies are non-government, not-for-profit organisations with the welfare of animals as their reason for existence.
The main goals and activities of most animal welfare agencies focus on four main things: enforcement of existing animal protection legislation; advancement of such legislation; raising public awareness and knowledge about animal welfare issues; and direct care for animals in need.
Their role is important because progress in the welfare of animals depends upon the continued questioning of existing beliefs and concepts
Climate change and animals
Most plants and animals live in areas with very specific climate conditions, such as temperature and rainfall patterns, that enable them to thrive. As the Earth gets warmer, plants and animals that need to live in cold places, like on mountaintops or in the Arctic, might not have a suitable place to live. If the Earth keeps getting warmer, up to one–fourth of all the plants and animals on Earth could become extinct within 100 years. Every plant and animal plays a role in the ecosystem (for example, as a source of food, a predator, a pollinator, a source of shelter), so losing one species can affect many others. Warmer water combined with increased ocean acidity has already caused coral bleaching (a type of damage to corals) in many parts of the world.
Endangered species are animals or plants that are soon to die out. This means that once they become extinct, they will never be seen on Earth again. Many animals and plants become endangered or extinct each year.
Extinctions are a natural part of evolutionary processes.Major changes in the conditions on Earth have caused the collapse of living systems, and large percentages of species a have become extinct. It takes millions of years for life forms to diversify again.
The current extinction crisis is unique, in that the loss of biodiversity is occurring very rapidly, and the causes of the crisis are the activities of a single species: human beings. Recently, however, the rate of them dying has increased dramatically. It is estimated that 27,000 species become extinct each year, about 3 an hour. Since 1996, scientists calculated that 124 types of amphibians, 1,108 types of birds, 734 types of fish, 1,096 types of mammals, and 253 types of reptiles became endangered.
Many more species are becoming endangered species and therefore in danger of becoming extinct if we do not act quickly to conserve all of them.
Conservation of ecosystems and the species within them is necessaryto maintain the natural balance disrupted by recent human activity.
Despite the effort put into conservation by organizations and activists, the work done suffers due to the conflicting interests of others. This occurs from activities like habitat destruction, illegal poaching, influencing or manipulating laws designed to protect species.
The current form of globalization has also been criticized for ignoring sustainable development and environmental concerns. For many years, critics, NGOs, activists and affected peoples have been accusing large corporations for being major sources of environmental problems.
Consequently, helping species and ecosystems to survive becomes more difficult.